United States Veterans’ Artists Alliance (USVAA) is a 501 (c) 3, non-profit, multi-disciplinary arts organization composed of a diverse group of dynamic, extraordinarily talented military veterans and artists located across the United States.

Founded in 2004, USVAA seeks to open doors for military veterans to work and thrive in America’s creative economy by providing opportunities in the arts, humanities and entertainment industry. With a solid track record of programming excellence in place, USVAA works tirelessly with veterans, artists, supportive individuals and organizations within the arts and veterans’ communities to find funding and support for individual and collaborative projects in photography, literature, theater, film, television, fine arts and a wide variety of crafts.

In addition to our work with veterans and artists, we strive first and foremost to highlight the talents of military veterans and the history of veterans who have made significant contributions to the arts and humanities since the Revolutionary War. To date we have compiled biographical information on the over 550 military veterans who have made noted contributions to the arts and humanities since the founding of the United States.

As spokespersons in the veteran’s community and in our endeavors as artists, we work diligently to highlight issues of concern to veterans and their families. These issues include the transition from military to civilian life, education, employment, the effects of wartime and military service injuries such as PTSD, TBI and Military Sexual Trauma (MST) and homelessness among veterans.

For more information about our work please visit our ABOUT PAGE.


Moderated by our Colleague Christopher Sweeney and our Executive Director, Keith Jeffreys.

Christopher Sweeney was our Featured Colleague for June 2017 – read our interview with him HERE.  

Teri McCans: Artist, Veteran, Deputy Sheriff

The USVAA Colleague of the Month program is part of our continuing efforts to highlight the talent level of the military veterans we work with in the arts, humanities and entertainment industry. This month we’re featuring the work of artist Teri McCans.

 

Teri McCans first approached us about becoming a colleague back in 2011. We admit we were a little skeptical. At the time she had already served two tours with the Army in Iraq, was working as a firefighter in New Jersey and she was focused on her growth as an artist. It seemed like she was too young to be that accomplished. Yet, not only was everything she said about her background true, but her paintings were amazing. Then we saw her installations and sculptures and it dawned on us how extraordinarily talented and hard-working Teri is.

She now serves as a Deputy Sheriff for Jefferson County, Colorado, is married to a fellow Army veteran and continues to paint and create art. The fact that she’s able to balance all these elements of her life makes her a truly inspiring example of a veteran and artist dedicated to giving back to the community and continuing their service in new ways. We are truly proud to feature her as USVAA Colleague of the Month for September 2017.

To see some of Teri’s art and learn more about her work, please visit her website at www.terimccans.com

Interview Questions: USVAA Colleague of the Month Teri McCans.

USVAA: What made you want to become an artist?

TM: From a very early age I recognized I had a natural talent in art. It was a constant, through my education, that has always given me confidence and never made me doubt my abilities. I don’t remember making a conscious decision, it always just seemed the way it was supposed to be.
USVAA: What do you think is important about being an artist?
TM: Staying true to my vision, passion, and doing what is right for me. Our society has a very strong misunderstanding of art and artists and I challenge myself daily to not let the few comments, criticisms, and unrealistic societal pressures affect my choice to create.
In my heart and mind, I know I can create my most compelling work when I create from my own heart and not what has becomes someone else’s vision. Granted, I highly respect those who work in in fields where they are required to execute other’s creative visions or offer their expertise in the creation process: but for me, it stunts my ability to create anything and adds a pressure to the process that deters me from creation all together.
I believe that my hard work, dedication, and commitment to my artistic vision will always lead me to a sense of fulfillment, without regrets, with or without recognition or monetary value.
USVAA: What are the most important elements of your work? What are the things people might not see that you try to convey with your work?
TM: My work is almost always derived of tragedy, sadness, or a conflict: whether it has been experienced by me, or someone close to me. I strive in executing my heavy content with a beautiful, soft, aesthetic, because it brings that topic to a place of peace and healing for me, instead of a burden on my heart, mind, or soul. My work is medicinal for me, it brings be joy and contentment, allows me to express the unique experiences that I’ve had, and allows me to represent a very small group of artists that offer a very specific and unusual perspective – based off our uncommon experiences and environments. My narrative is very specific in my pieces, although the viewer might not be aware. This could be due to my own vague use of imagery or environment, but it is also because I believe beauty supersedes all negativity, so, in a way, I mask the heaviness of the subject matter. This isn’t to confuse the viewer, but is simply my creation process. I am always happy and and open to discussing my paintings and sculptures but also love to hear, from viewers, how they interpret their own narrative or connection to a piece. If my message is lost to a viewer, but they gain contentment in their viewing process, I always see it as a success and compliment.

To continue reading this insightful interview, please click HERE.

To visit our Featured Colleague for the previous month, please click HERE.


Field & Stream® Introduces Trevor Denham-Designed T-Shirt, The First of a Series in Support of USVAA


USVAA is extraordinarily proud to announce that Field & Stream, a specialty outdoor retailer and product brand owned and operated by DICK’S Sporting Goods, has introduced a series of t-shirts that display artwork designed by talented veterans starting with Trevor Denham (USMC). To further support veterans, and the passion and pride they exemplify for our country, Field & Stream will be donating 5% of the proceeds of the sale of the shirts directly to USVAA in support of our mission.

Above is one of the four designs currently on sale at more than 25 Field & Stream stores across the country and FieldandStreamShop.com

On behalf of everyone at USVAA we would like to thank the entire Field & Stream team for creating this opportunity for our colleagues. We look forward to introducing more veteran designed T-Shirts highlighting the importance of outdoor activities and the talent level of veterans working in the creative economy.

For more information about the T-Shirts please go here: FIELD AND STREAM ONLINE STORE
For more information about Trevor Denham, please visit his website or his listing at USVAA.

 


Dan Lauria Joins Annette Bening in IF ALL THE SKY WERE PAPER at the Douglas

Lexikat Artists, in association with Chapman University, presents Annette Bening, Dan Lauria and Ken Jenkins (replacing the previously announced James Caan) along with a cast including Kate Mansi (2017 Daytime Emmy winner), in a one-night only performance of the play IF ALL THE SKY WERE PAPER, on Wednesday, June 7 at 7:30pm at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City, CA.

The play is a moving, dramatic reading of real wartime letters by soldiers, Marines, sailors, and airmen, as well as their family members at home.

If All the Sky Were Paper is a powerful, humorous and unforgettable play about one man’s search around the world for the “most extraordinary letters ever written,” and is based entirely on real life war letters-letters written by soldiers and their loved ones during wars from the American Revolutionary War to present emails from Afghanistan.

 

Please click HERE to read more at Broadway World.

USVAA FEATURED ON PBS’ LAART PROGRAM

From honoring contributions, to supporting artistic endeavors to advocating for the concerns of our veterans and their families the United States Veterans Artists Alliance takes a creative approach to working with those who have given so much.

Please click HERE to watch the clip.